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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  March 1, 2013 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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states, including a 13% drop in mississippi. she braught an inspiring message to chicago yesterday. >> i grew up in the same neighborhoods, faced the same struggles, shared the same hopes and dreams that all of you shared. i am you. and the only reason i am standing up here today is because when i was your age, i made a set of choices. i chose not to listen to the doubters and the haters. i chose to listen to my own voice. i chose to ignore any negative things happening around me and,
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instead, chose to focus on all the wonderful things going on inside oaf me. >> listen to your own voice. shut out the doubters. it's been her message while even some on the right criticized to tackle childhood obesity. it is a message in a new interview when she answered those who didn't care for her surprise appearance at the oscars. >> that's just the nature of life, you know:? we live in a time when there are bloggers and tweeters and 24 hour-news and everyone has a voice. not everybody is going to like what you do. that's just the nature of things. >> that's just the nature of things. and it's just one of the reasons the first lady is so admired by so many. and she says she shuts out the doubters. she just keeps on moving, instead. that's what you must do. shut out the doubters. live for the big things.
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keep your eye on your prize. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. >> the cutting edge. let's play "hardball" ♪ good evening. i'm michael smerconish in for chris matthews. leading off tonight, who's afraid of the big bad sequester? no one apparently. certainly not the financial markets with the dow near it's all-time high. in fact, both political parties may be more okay with the big budget cuts than you'd think. the democrats get to cut the pentagon and protect their social programs, and republicans get to cut spending. right now president obama is convinced republicans will pay the price for endangering the recovery while protecting the wealthy, but what if he's wrong. also, let's go to the audio
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tape. now we can actually hear supreme court justice antonin scalia calling the voting rights act a, quote, racial entitlement. that one phrase has stirred the anger of two of his more liberal colleagues and may set up some big left/right confrontations. plus, the march toward marriage equality just got a big boost. the obama administration has joined the fight urging the supreme court to overturn proposition 8, california's ban on same-sex marriage. and look who just emerged from the mittness protection program, mitt romney, who has just done his first tv interview since the election. the question is do even republicans want to hear from him anymore? and, finally, let me finish with a vote for transparency where it matters the most. let's begin with the politics of those automatic spending cuts going into effect today. david corn is washington bureau chief for "mother jones." michael steele is the former chairman of the rnc, and both are msnbc political analysts. gentlemen, the president came
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out swinging at republicans today after his meeting with congressional leadership blaming them for the cuts that he referred to as dumb. >> what's important to understand is that not everyone will feel the pain of these cuts right away. the pain though will be real. so every time that we get a piece of economic news over the next month, next two months, next six months, as long as the sequester is in place, we'll know that that economic news could have been better if congress had not failed to act. and let's be clear, none of this is necessary. it's happening because of a choice that republicans in congress have made. i have offered negotiations around that kind of balanced approach, and so far we've gotten rebuffed because what speaker boehner and the republicans have said is we cannot do any revenue. we can't do a dime's worth of revenue. so what more do you think i
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should do? i am not a dictator. i am the president. >> and on the other end of pennsylvania avenue, we didn't hear much hopefulness coming from speaker boehner either. david gregory sat down with him for an interview that will air sunday on "meet the press." >> as we sit here friday afternoon, you have emerged from a meeting at the white house. there is no deal. take me inside the room. what happened? >> very nice, polite discussion, but i had asked the president and senator reid to come with a plan to replace the sequester. listen, we've known about this for 16 months. and yet even today there's no plan from senate democrats or the white house to replace the sequester. and over the last ten months, house republicans have acted twice to replace the sequester.
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>> in the end you don't really see a pathway here that's open as you sit here. >> if i did, the meeting at the white house this morning might have gone better. >> michael steele, what strikes me as significant is that this week there didn't seem to be any real effort to avoid this. it was all for show. they came in, what, tuesday through thursday? the house was gone by last night. >> yeah. >> so when did they cut it loose and decide, man, we can't save this? >> weeks ago, weeks ago. this drama has been unfolding for, like the speaker said, 16 months, but everyone i think kind of came to a general consensus, just let it happen and then we'll deal with it afterwards, weeks ago. look, both sides have an opportunity here to move this thing forward. the president instead of having the meeting today could have had the meeting on monday. you know, sort of lead into what was going to happen at midnight tonight. that didn't happen. it's because everybody -- you set it up right. the democrats are going to, you
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know, they can say what they want about republicans on this. republicans got the defense cuts they want. you know, everybody is looking at the -- >> is it faux outrage then? >> i don't think it's faux outrage in terms of the impact this is going to have. when the president says there are going to be some real consequences here, fewer food inspectors, 71,000 kids won't get into head start maybe not until september, you know, 20% of salary cuts for federal workers impacting local economies. that's all very real. but i have to call out boehner because he's playing this sort of, i think, a dirtier game than the president. he goes, i just need a plan. give me a plan, mr. president. give me a plan, mr. senate majority leader. the democrats in the senate yesterday voted for a plan. it got 51 votes. it didn't pass because republicans filibustered. there is a plan. the president for 16 months has been pushing a plan. close tax loopholes and put that money to deficit reduction and have a different set of not indiscriminate cuts. that's his plan. >> do you accept the criticism of boehner? >> boehner keeps saying where is the plan. there is a plan.
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he just doesn't like the plan. >> that may be true, but the house put two plans on the floor. they were voted on. they weren't voted on in the senate. you know, yeah, the senate voted -- >> their plan was to take all the cuts out in the military and put them in social -- >> but, david, you have to start someplace, and the problem is democrats don't want to start where you need to start, and that is having an honest conversation about what are you prepared to cut, david corn? what are you prepared to cut, president obama? what are you prepared to put on the table? we've given you $600 billion in january in new revenue with no cuts. so show me some cuts, and then we can start talking about how serious you are. >> 16 months ago the president, against some of the desires of people within his own party, did put things on the table. changed cpi for social security, medicare cuts. he did, and they came up with -- >> he used the words. he didn't put a plan. what was the specific amount of chain cpi? what was the number? >> these were numbers passed between gene sperling and boehner's office. >> here is what i don't like. it suits each of their political objectives.
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i want to use chuck todd. i have been saying it all week on the radio, but he said it beautifully. he noted this in "first read" this morning. yes, both sides are kicking and screaming publicly, and, yes, these cuts will impact people's livelihoods, but if you're a republican who wants to cut spending, you're getting your spending cuts. if you're a democrat who either wants to reduce defense spending or ensure that all the cuts aren't targeted only at social programs, you're getting your wish. this is perhaps the biggest reason why these cuts are going into effect -- at the end of the day they were better than the alternative, for republicans raising tax levels and eliminating loopholes, for democrats having the spending cuts come exclusively from social spending. you're shaking your head. tonight republicans are already back in their districts, and they're able to say we cut spending. >> i absolutely agree with chuck. i think he's framed this perfectly. that's why i said they settled on this weeks ago. so all this drama and histrionics, the world is coming to an end, kids won't get
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educated -- >> to go back to where i started, there was nothing consequential done because it suited their interests. >> i agree with the political analysis, but the problem we have is this is about the most immature way of approaching real problems that we have in this country. and i do believe -- you know, you can go to people like norm ornstein and thomas mann who are centrists who say the conflicts within the republican's own side have made them tougher partners to get involved in a deal with the president, and that's where we've been for the last two years, where we are now. boehner is asking for plans because he can't really cut a compromise. >> let me put a period on this. we're not going to move beyond this conversation and the one we see unfolded this week until both sides realize, each of them, their stuff stinks. the president's stuff stinks -- >> what's that going to take? >> it's going to take the realization, and i think it's
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going to be in 30 to 45 days when some of the cuts begin to trickle into the economy and people begin to feel it, that pressure is going to come back. the president is playing a real gamble here because i don't think this is all going to fall neatly on the republicans' lap. this thing is going to get spread on -- >> here is something else -- >> but if you look -- sorry, michael, but if you look at what the public says about how to solve that -- >> that's what they say today. let's see that they're saying in four weeks. >> for the last year they have been -- >> guys, here is something that baffles me, it's what the market is doing. if the economy is going to feel the effects of the spending cuts, the markets sure haven't been scared yet. the dow closed just under 14,090, inching closer to the record of a little more than 14,164. i always think that these
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masters of the universe on wall street, they have it figured out, they're three steps ahead of us. why aren't they nervous? >> didn't we learn in october 2007 that they're not always three steps ahead and they don't know what they're doing? they don't know what they're talking about? irrational exuberance? remember that? i think they have gotten used to the fact that washington has these manufactured crises. we have one cliff after another and that they tend to sort of be worked out on a temporary basis. at some point that might stop happening. >> michael, what is your explanation? >> it may stop happening, but i think they've baked all of this into their formulations for the next few months. they know what's going to happen. we have fiscal cliff part deux, or whatever you want to call it, in the next few weeks. they know what the deal is. they're like let's ride this thing. when the boys and girls in the playground decide to come and do what they need to do -- >> i can't let the week end with the "a" team sitting on "hardball" without mentioning two words, bob woodward. quickly, the take on how that impacted this whole conversation? >> i'm in this business largely because of bob woodward.
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i was a big fan of his during watergate. i think it was unfortunate. he made too much of a deal over what gene wrote. it wasn't a threat. it was an apology. i think politico hyped it up because it makes good ratings, good for clicks, and it became a tempest in a teapot that evaporated just as right wing talk radio and tv was trying to make a big deal out of it. >> what i didn't like was when woodward read aloud on politico from the e-mail, he left out the words "as a friend," which i thought changed the whole meaning of it. >> i'm sorry, i'm really sorry. >> you ought to see my e-mail day to day. this is soft. >> i have gotten treatment from the white house, this white house, when they haven't liked what i have said that is far worse than that. i would like to get notes like that. >> michael, on the fundamental issue, woodward's the most credible of individuals to say, hey, this was the president's idea. >> and that's the real rub for the white house and for everyone. this was the president's idea.
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it came from his economic team. so, okay, let's get past that -- >> everyone accepted it -- >> this is the point. the bottom line is when you got the left trashing bob woodward and the right embracing him, we're in a whole new landscape, folks. >> thank you both for being here, michael steele and david corn. we appreciate you. coming up, we were stunned to read what supreme court justice antonin scalia had to say about the landmark voting rights act, that it's an example of a racial entitlement. now we can hear scalia speak for himself and the other justices who challenged him. this is "hardball," the place for politics. djibouti, africa, 2004. the battle of bataan, 1942. [ all ] fort benning, georgia, in 1999. [ male announcer ] usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation because it offers a superior level of protection and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans, and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto-insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve. i have direct deposit on my visa prepaid.
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why a justice would classify the simple protected right to vote as racial entitlements baffles me and offends me. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was texas congresswoman sheila jackson lee reflecting the visceral reaction to justice antonin scalia's comments. by characterizing the voting rights act as a racial entitlement, scalia may have unwittingly energized voting rights supporters. just this afternoon the actual audio tapes of wednesday's arguments were released by the court, so now the words that caused such an uproar can be paired with the voice. >> this last enactment, not a single vote in the senate against it.
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and the house is pretty much the same. now, i don't think that's attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. i think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. it's been written about. whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes. >> joining me now are two people who were in the courtroom for the arguments. julie fernandes, a former deputy attorney general in the civil rights division of the justice department, and dale ho of the naacp legal defense and education fund who has worked on this case from the beginning. julie, take me in the supreme court. what was the body language? what was the vibe when they get into it? meaning justices scalia and
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sotomayor and kagan? >> i think that a lot of people were surprised to hear justice scalia refer to the voting rights act as a racial entitlement. no one knows what he was actually thinking, but i think the word entitlement suggests somehow that you're getting something you didn't earn, and for many of us we think of the voting rights act and the right to vote as sort of an equality mandate for all americans. it's an equality mandate, not some kind of an entitlement, something that when the voters of texas -- and in texas, african-americans and latinos, federal courts found that they were intentionally discriminated against. their right to vote, section 5's ability to stop that, that's not a racial entitlement. that's american justice. >> i don't believe, dale, that voting is a racial entitlement. i don't know how anyone could make such a statement, but giving him the benefit of the doubt, it was bone-headed what he said at best. as i read the full context, he seemed to be saying we never unwind benefits that are given to a particular group demographic by way of example. is he right in that respect? >> well, first of all, i don't think he's right in that respect at all. i think what he's trying to say,
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if i can try to get into his mind, i know julie didn't want to try to do that. he's trying to articulate the argument that the plaintiff was making in this case, that racial discrimination is largely a thing of the past and, therefore, we don't need things like the civil rights act anymore. these are luxuries that have become in their view entitlements, and, unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. we have, in fact, seen tremendous progress over the last 50 years, but we also see tremendous discrimination, and the right to be free from that discrimination when you're exercising the right to vote is not entitlement. it's an american birth right. >> we have to play for everybody the tapes because they're stunning. the two of you were there. justices sonia sotomayor and elena kagan, both new to the bench, gave some of the strongest push back to scalia's premise. here with the lawyer representing shelby county, justice sotomayor directly challenging the comment. >> do you think the right to
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vote is a racial entitlement in section 5? >> no, the 15th amendment protects the right of all to vote and -- >> i asked a different question. do you think section 5 was voted for because it was a racial entitlement? >> well, congress -- >> you think there was no basis to find that -- >> may i say congress was reacting in 1964 to a problem of race discrimination which it thought was prevalent in certain jurisdictions. so to that extent as the intervenor said, yes, it was intended to protect those who had been discriminated against. if i might say, i think that -- >> do you think that racial discrimination in voting has ended? that there is none anywhere? >> i think the world is not perfect. >> julie, was she speaking to him or was she speaking to justice scalia? what was going on? where was she looking when she said that? >> i think often the justices, and in this case likely too, they are talking to each other as much as they're talking to
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the litigants. >> using him as a means -- >> as sort of a prop in a sense, not a nice word, but just as an opportunity to have a conversation so they can talk to each other about what's really going on. but i do think i want to say what's really going on here are two things. one is there is a case to be made there is continuing voting discrimination in states all over the south and other parts of the country that's race-based that section 5 prevents, and the question is whose job is it to determine when that job is done? so that's both about the continuing need for section 5, but also the role of congress versus the role of the court. that's the conversation that they're having. and that's the conversation that's really important for us as a country to kind of get to. >> justice scalia questioned whether congress was equipped to decide whether the voting rights act should be extended because they'd be too concerned about appearing politically correct to voters. listen to this. >> this is not the kind of a question you can leave to congress. there are certain districts in the house that are black
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districts by law just about now. and even the virginia senators, they have no interest in voting against this. the state government is not their government, and they are going to lose -- they're going to lose votes if they do not re-enact the voting rights act. even the name of it is wonderful. who is going to vote against that in the future? >> this time it was justice elena kagan who rebutted his arguments in her exchange with the shelby county attorney. listen to this. >> you said the problem has been solved, but who gets to make that judgment really? is it you, is it the court, or is it congress? >> well, it's certainly not me. >> that's a good answer. i was hoping you would say that. >> but i think the question is congress can examine it, congress makes a record, it is up to the court to determine whether the problem indeed has been solved and whether the new problem, if there is one -- >> well, that's a big, new power that you are giving us, that we have the power now to decide whether racial discrimination
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has been solved? >> dale, it occurs to me that justice scalia has had that hardball playing surface to himself when the supreme court is having arguments, and now you've got him balanced by sotomayor and elena kagan. i guess what i'm saying is breyer is a pretty amiable kind of a guy you don't often see standing up to scalia. it seems like the dynamics have changed on the bench in terms of the arguments. >> well, whenever you have new justices, it's going to change the dynamics a little bit, and i think everybody would agree that's happened since justices sotomayor and kagan joined the bench. they brought the conversation back down to reality a little bit. scalia made these comments that were a bit incendiary, and what justice kagan and justice sotomayor tried to focus on are the facts. the facts of continuing discrimination in places like alabama. sotomayor noted there have been about 240 discriminatory voting laws that have been blocked in alabama alone since the last time the voting rights act was
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reauthorized. the question she posed to the lawyer for shelby county at the beginning, when you have that kind of record, how can you stand with a straight face before this court and say that you no longer need federal observation over your voting laws? >> my only regret about this is that we as americans can't watch what the two of you had the opportunity to sit and witness in person. i'm going to say more about that at the end of the program. thank you, julie fernandes. thank you, dale ho. up next, ever wonder who the 12% of americans are who say they approve of the job that congress is doing? well, we found them. and that's next in the "sideshow." don't forget, if you want to follow me on twitter, and i hope you do, you just need to spell smerconish. this is "hardball," the place for politics. back to "hardball." kblank with the spark miles card from capital one,
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back to "hardball. now for the "sideshow." first, how is this for an odd couple? former nba star dennis rodman and north korean dictator kim jong-un. believe it. rodman and members of the harlem globetrotters made the trip to pyongyang this week as part of a documentary project. there was no guarantee that they would meet kim jong-un, but turns out the north korean leader was up for playing host. here is the pair sitting courtside at an exhibition basketball game which was capped off with a party at kim jong-un's palace. it gets better. it seems dennis rodman failed to brush up on his koreas before heading overseas. check out this tweet. maybe i'll run into gangnam style dude while i'm here. that, of course, is a reference to the south korean rapper psy. not surprisingly given the tense relationship, psy was not amused tweeting back, i'm from south, man. next, you may have noticed that every time a poll comes out
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about congress, their favorability rating is embarrassingly low. here is the question though. who are the 9% or 10% or 12% of people who do give them a thumbs up? "the new york times" did some digging after their own poll found congress had a 12% favorability asking people why they liked congress. some people backed off their vote of support entirely instead using words like idiots and ninnies to describe members of congress. someone else said their response was an accident. while another said she just had surgery when she answered the question. overall though, the report found that the tiny group of congress lovers fell into one of two camps. they either blame president obama and not congress for the washington gridlock or they're just really optimistic that everybody is trying their best. for the folks who think congress needs to step it up though, there's stephen colbert's solution to the next budget crisis. >> i think i know why the sequester is not working.
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because it doesn't affect congress. the salaries of senators and representatives do not get cut. so to congress the sequester is like a loan shark saying if you don't pay up, he's going to break your neighbor's legs. to prevent the next crisis, we just need a worse scenario. i say we suspend monkey above the floor of congress. no, an ebola monkey. if they do not reach a budget deal by the deadline, the doors to congress are locked, the rope is cut, and it is meal time in the monkey house. finally, how do we know that things aren't going well between president obama and speaker boehner? "the atlantic's" politics blog has the photo spread to prove it with captions. first obama sends his furious laser beam eyes in boehner's direction followed by it's scarier in close-up, and later
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this is the exact body language a couple uses when they break up in a car. up next, the obama administration throws its weight in support of marriage equality urging the supreme court to overturn california's gay marriage ban. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] how do you measure happiness? by the armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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i'm craig melvin. here's what's happening right now. nbc news has learned the cardinals of the catholic church are expected to meet monday. that's when they're setting a date for the process of sleblgting a new pope. the international space station sunday after experiencing mechanical trouble. the capsule was carrying one ton of supplies. actress bonnie franklin has died. she was 6 t.
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back to "hardball." ♪ when the supreme court asks do you think that the california law, which doesn't provide any rationale for discriminating against same-sex couples other than just the notion that, well, they're same-sex couples, when the supreme court asks me or my attorney general or solicitor general do we think that meets constitutional muster, i felt it was important for us to answer that question honestly, and the answer is no. >> welcome back to "hardball." this was president obama earlier today on california's gay marriage ban, proposition 8. last night the obama administration filed a brief asking the supreme court to strike down the controversial law saying, quote, california
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law provides to same-sex couples registered as domestic partners all the legal incidents of marriage, but it nonetheless denies them the designation of marriage allowed to their opposite-sex counterparts. particularly in those circumstances, the exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from marriage does not substantially further any important governmental interest. proposition 8 thus violates equal protection. in plain english this is another sign that americans' acceptance of gays and lesbians is becoming part of the new normal and those opposed are being left behind in history. later this month the high court is set to begin hearing arguments for proposition 8 and the other landmark case, the defense of marriage act. joining me now is richard socarides with and ron reagan, an msnbc political analyst. ron, what do you make of the timing of all this? is there more to it than this was the appropriate moment the administration sought to file the brief? >> well, i guess better late
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than never. the president has taken a long time to sort of evolve, as he put it, on this issue. of course, the supreme court is about to hear the case, and there is a question as to whether this statement by the president and the brief that's been filed will have any influence on the court. i suspect not in this case, but it does lay down a marker for the administration. they are going on the record now. now finally saying this is a fundamental right. that poses a certain dilemma for the administration. the position before was it should be left to the states. if this was a fundamental right, then you can't leave it to the states anymore. then we need a national policy that says that gay people are allowed to marry like anybody else, and so far the president hasn't quite, quite come out and said that just so boldly. >> i'm curious, you use the word evolve. that's, of course, his word. do you think that he's evolved? do you take him at face value or do you think he's been there all
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along? >> well, that's a very good question. it has always seemed to me this evolution involved a sort of political calculation. he's just too young and too smart to really believe, it seems to me, that gay people shouldn't be allowed to marry like everybody else. i think he may have made the calculation that were he to get out in front on this issue, that the right, the far right, would redouble their efforts to thwart him because, you know, a lot of these people are motivated by nothing more than simply hatred of obama. so if obama is for gay marriage, then they're even more against gay marriage. maybe that's part of his reluctance. i'm not really sure. >> richard, until last year president obama said gay marriage should be an issue with the states, but filing the brief shows a clear change of heart. here is the president today. >> you know, i think that the same evolution i have gone through is an evolution that the country as a whole has gone through, and i think it is a profoundly positive thing. >> given the fact that you do
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hold that position about gay marriage, i wonder if you thought about just once you made the decision to weigh in, why not just argue that marriage is a right that should be available to all people at this point? >> well, that's an argument that i have made personally. >> richard, respond to the president from earlier today. >> listen, i would be considerably more generous than ron about this. i think every american has had their journey on this issue. nobody started out supporting same-sex marriage. everybody has had to come to that position. so i take the president at his
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word that he has evolved like many other americans. i thought he was right on today when he said, you know, his journey was a long one but a good one and that many people in the country have been on a similar journey, but now we're at a point where a majority of americans led by the president and hopefully led by a supreme court who upholds that right now believe that there's a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, and i think the president -- >> please don't think i'm belittling the issue when i throw a "modern family" reference into this. i think, you know, seeing cam and mitchell, i think that the way in which in movies and in television and in all of our cultural influences, not to mention our own families and our social orbit, that has caused so many of us i think to be on an evolutionary path with regard to this issue. >> i completely agree with you. i think that is a very important point, that the culture influences have played a large role in this. i mean, when you think about the young characters on "glee," which is on the conservative fox network, i mean, there are two teenage gay kids on "glee" that are welcomed into everybody's home every day. you know, i think that americans know that gay people are everywhere and that it's no longer appropriate in this modern day to discriminate against them, but i think the president really has had a journey, and i think his remarks were a clear statement.
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today he came out and he said, i believe that we cannot discriminate against gay americans when it comes to marriage. i don't think he could be any more clear about it even though it's taken him a while to get there. >> ron reagan -- >> therefore -- >> let's look at the states where same-sex marriage is legal. those are in green, not sure if you can see it on the monitor. maryland is the most recent to join the bunch, and then in yellow, for folks at home, the states where civil unions or domestic partners are recognized. obviously growing in number. it's hard for me to imagine that that clock ever gets turned back a different way. have we reached the tipping point on this issue? >> yes. i think we have. certainly in some parts of the country. obviously we have in some parts of the country, and i think nationally speaking we have, and once you reach this point, once
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you come to the conclusion that marriage is, in fact, a fundamental right, then certain things follow. then it cannot be left up to the states. as recently as may the president's position was that the states, individual states, should decide who should be allowed to marry one another. well, if you're going to take -- follow that logic, i guess states should be allowed to decide that people of different races shouldn't be allowed to marry one another either. now, i don't think anybody really believes that, and so if you have come to this point, then it's either/or. it's either a fundamental right or it is not. >> i think if you listen to the president's words carefully in may, that he said that he thought we were making progress with this state-by-state approach, and i think ron is right. he tried to nuance it a little bit in advance of the election and not quite go as far as he's gone now, but i think with this justice department filing yesterday and his remarks in the press conference today, the president is on record, it could not be -- he could not be any more clear about it, that he believes that all americans should be guaranteed the right to marry no matter where you live regardless of sexual orientation. >> gentlemen, thank you -- >> would you welcome a little more enthusiasm though? >> thank you, richard -- >> i'm totally fine with his enthusiasm as it stands right now. >> all right. >> thank you, richard. thank you, ron reagan.
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we appreciate you being here. up next, look who's back, mitt romney, who does his first tv interview since losing the election. that's ahead. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ah beautiful. work the camera... work it! those hands. oooh la la! magnifique! what's your secret? what? huh? dawn? how can this be? [ female announcer ] dawn hand renewal with olay beauty helps lock in skin's natural moisture to improve the look and feel of hands in 5 uses. [ sponge ] gotta hand it to your beautiful hands, huh? [ female announcer ] love it, or get double your money back. dawn does more. [ sponge ] so it's not a chore. bob will retire when he's 153, which would be fine if bob were a vampire. but he's not. ♪ he's an architect with two kids and a mortgage. luckily, he found someone who gave him a fresh perspective on his portfolio.
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we're back. and mitt's back. mitt romney has been laying low since the election, and besides an occasional sighting of him at disneyland or costco, we haven't heard from the governor since his loss last november. that is until now. in an interview on fox with chris wallace, he sums up the experience of his presidential campaign. >> we were on a roller coaster,
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exciting and thrilling, ups and downs, but the ride ends, and then you get off. and it's not like, oh, can't we be on the roller coaster the rest of our life? no, that ride is over. >> he's making a comeback in this weekend interview and a speech later this month at cpac. just what message he'll bring and whether republicans will listen, that remains to be seen. ruth marcus is a columnist for "the washington post." ken vogel is a reporter for politico. where do you see him going careerwise, not that he needs to earn a paycheck. >> two things, not that he needs to earn a paycheck and not that he's going to be president. so careerwise, i don't mean this to sound mean, but kind of nowhere. i think the question is can he turn himself into some kind of elder statesman of the republican party? a statesman without actually ever having been head of state. he's got a hard -- like al gore, right, before him and others who have never gotten quite to the
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top. it's a very delicate thing, and this is a hard loss for everybody to recover from. >> he's a relatively young guy, and yet i buy that assessment of him in saying it's over for him. why is it over for him? >> he personifies some of the things that republicans have identified as their greatest weaknesses and the things that they're trying to move away from in this current rebranding. the inability to appeal to hispanics. the inability to appeal to women. this idea that republicans are the party of the rich. they want the rich to get richer and the poor can kind of go fend for themselves. so that's the discussion right now among republicans, how to move away from that, and if you're the guy who personifies it, you don't really have much of a role. >> he still has a taste for politics. mitt romney weighed in on today's automatic spending cuts and what they mean for the president. >> no one can think that that's been a success for the president. he didn't think the sequester would happen.
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it is happening, but to date what we've seen is the president out campaigning to the american people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country, and berating republicans and blaming and pointing. what does that do? that causes the republicans to retrench and put up a wall and to fight back. it's a very natural human emotion. natural human emotion. the president has the opportunity to lead the nation and to bring republicans and democrats together. it's a job he's got to do, and it's a job only the president can do. >> it sounds like an argument not to use the bully pulpit. how dare he go out and try and sell his policy. >> well, i think it's a little bit of an argument not to use the bully pulpit obama's way. if you're mitt romney you woke up on election day believing you were going to be president of the united states. and you had your mind, and i talked about it this week in an interview with paul ryan, you had a 100-day and a 200-day governing plan. you knew that the sequester was coming and you knew what you wanted to do with the sequester.
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paul ryan talked with me about he and mitt thought that i would be at this point what they call the charm offensive with senate democrats to woo them along. both of them i'm convinced believed they were winning. they planned to be on this charm offensive with senate democrats not as the president is now with the country. and it is very difficult, like i said, for anybody to recover from having woken up one morning, thinking you're going president and vice president and going to bed that night knowing it ain't going to happen. >> ken, he goes to cpac. chris christie doesn't. do republicans want the hear from mitt romney? >> you know, i don't think they do. i think most republicans would kind of rather see him good away. and at cpac in particular, where, you know, he has managed to -- this is sort of the scene of the crime as far as -- >> the severe crime? >> the severe crime, seriously, as far as his attempt to sort of rebrand himself as a conservative who was going to really play to the conservative base and win votes and win the
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primary, which he did. but it was where he sort of veered off from this image of him, this certainly framing of him as a moderate to become this conservative who was unable -- who was able to win the primary, but in so doing sort of put off swing voters and independent voters, the folks who conservatives and republicans need to appeal to. in many ways, if mitt romney epitomized, sort of personifies the problem, cpac is the epitome of the problem. and the fact that they would shun someone like chris christie who shows some appeal and shows the ability to have some traction with these voters who they need to win and welcome someone like mitt romney who is a real nod to the past and the past problems is part of the problem. >> christie should be delivering the keynote. he should be explaining to them how it's done. i have to ask a female perspective of one other question. >> that's why i'm here. >> of course. >> the wife, ann romney. i don't mean to refer to her as the wife.
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that sounds disrespectful. this has to be brutal for her. >> i'm going to do this not from the female perspective. the spouse, the spouse always takes it harder than principle does. my exhibit a for this is bill clinton when hillary clinton lost the primaries to barack obama. he took it harder. if you're the principle, you can suck it up and go on and pick yourself up, as hard as it is. if you're the spouse, you're feeling the wound for your husband or wife and you're holding the grudge. i think you see a little bit of a glimpse of that from ann romney in this interview. >> it will give us an additional reason to pay attention to cpac. should it be a good gathering in just a couple of weeks. >> yeah, this is in some ways like i said this is like the base of the republican party is at cpac, but it's not the base of the sort of republican party of the future necessarily. >> correct. thank you both for being here. appreciate it. appreciate ken vogel and ruth marcus. when we return, let me finish with my argument for cameras in
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let me finish tonight with this. on wednesday, the supreme court heard arguments regarding the voting rights act of 1965. at stake whether nine states, primarily in the south, will be unencumbered from government preclearance when changing voting procedures. the arguments and the questions were pointed, and evidence to divide between the conservative and liberal


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